Sam Sebastiani, 77, eldest of the third generation siblings from Sonoma’s iconic winemaking family, has a new vineyard project. Named after his twin granddaughters, Le Gemelle (“the twins” in Italian) Vineyard will occupy about 60 acres on the western edge of the town of Sonoma. In keeping with his long history of work as a conservationist, Sam has set aside five acres in the middle of the vineyard for a wild bird habitat. The Bird Nest will have bird boxes, perches and a water source to encourage bird habitation.
Owned by the Sebastiani family since the 1970s, and farmed for hay production, it is now being converted to Pinot Noir grapes. When asked why he was undertaking a large vineyard planting at this point in his life, Sam said, “Our farsighted pioneer winemakers recognized Sonoma Valley as a premier wine appellation. Le Gemelle, sited in the valley’s Carneros Region, rests on land already lauded for excellent Pinot Noir. I am proud to add enrichment to this fine region with a legacy of superior vines.”
This year’s unseasonably cool weather and late rain slowed progress a bit, but La Prenda Vineyard Management is zooming along now, with stakes and irrigation lines already in. They will take about a month to get all the vines planted. Long-time Sonoma Valley grape grower and owner of La Prenda, Ned Hill said, “It is a pleasure to work with Sam Sebastiani on a vineyard project like this. Sam is about quality, and Le Gemelle Vineyard will produce some fantastic Pinot Noir.”
After spending the early 1980s running his family’s business and improving quality at the revered winery, Sam started Viansa Winery, where he focused on Italian varietals and helped pioneer direct to consumer sales. When Viansa sold, Sam packed up and moved part-time to Nebraska, where he farmed and built wildlife habitat on the North Platte River. But the pull of grapes has brought him home full-time to Sonoma.
Sam created La Chertosa Winery in 2007 to focus primarily on Old World Italian varietals produced with New World sensibility. La Chertosa is the magnificent 14th century monastery in Farneta, Italy where Sam’s grandfather first learned to make wine. “My dream was to have a small winery, making the best wine possible, from great vineyards,” said Sam. “La Chertosa allows me to do that.”
Le Gemelle Vineyard will share the parcel with the popular, local strawberry patch.
La Chertosa Winery is a great success, chosen by Wine Business Monthly Magazine as a “Hot Brand.” Since then La Chertosa has been a veritable Gold Medal machine. Accolades for current releases include:
2014 Reserve Barbera won 7 Gold Medals including Best of Class at the California State Fair and Best Barbera at the Monterey International Wine Competition.
2016 Reserve Chardonnay Gold Medal and 95 points, 2018 California State Fair and a Gold Medal at the 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
2010 Reserve Sangiovese garnered a Double Gold Medal at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and Gold Medal along with Best of Class at the California State Fair
2015 Reserve Sangiovese Gold Medal and 91 points, Monterey International Wine Competition and Gold Medals at Denver International Wine Competition and Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
La Chertosa Wines can be purchased at fine wine locations in California and Colorado or by visiting www.lachertosawines.com.